Frances Bavier thought that Andy Griffith invented the way Mayberry residents speak on ''The Andy Griffith Show''

"I thought Andy was making it up."

If you didn't grow up in the South and your first exposure to it was based on The Andy Griffith Show, the series might have been a shock to the system. For someone like Frances Bavier, who was born and raised in New York City, her knowledge of the South was limited at best. In fact, when Bavier first read the script for The Andy Griffith Show when she had the opportunity to join the cast, she assumed that the diction was an exaggeration. 

In an interview with The Calgary Herald, Bavier revealed that her first response to the script was "But people simply don't talk like that..." Now granted, people in the South don't run around repeating phrases like "Nip it in the bud!" over and over again, but the region has its own unique accent and utilizes a special sort of dialogue.

Still, Bavier accepted the role, and Aunt Bee was born, destined to be beloved by all.

But while the series was a success, Bavier still assumed that the dialogue in the show was exaggerated for comedic effect. It wasn't until she visited the South that she realized that the bit wasn't slapstick; it was real life. The actor stated, "It was my first trip to the South. I didn't believe it before. I thought Andy was making it up."

Still, Bavier fell in love with the South the same way so many viewers fell in love with the town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show. The actor was so taken with the southern United States that she even considered making her trip a bit more permanent. She confessed, "I almost put money down on an old house in Silver City, N.C. But the real estate man knew I was acting impulsively and made me think it over."

She reasoned, "I do believe in many ways it's a better life in a small town. But I worry whether you always have to be politic and polite. I think it takes skill to live in a small town and you have to tread very gently."

After she left acting, Bavier was able to make her dream a reality, and she actually moved to North Carolina and purchased a house. So, while Aunt Bee may have had a small-town life, the thing we're most proud of is her enormous heart.

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9 Comments

Canetuck 4 months ago
That is siler city, n.c., not silver city in reference to where aunt bee moved to in north carolina
aseverlasting0 4 months ago
Mayberry must be a ghost town now. Considering that no one in the town had children other than sheriff Andy Taylor. Aunt Bee, Barney goober Gomer Floyd's The barbershop and Miss Crump all where child-less and planning not to marry. Got to be a ghost town in Mayberry.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
Fun Fact: Bavier WASN'T Aunt Bee in the Danny Thomas pilot! I believe she buried her brother in a rented suit..LOL!
I think it was her husband she buried.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
I'm glad that she enjoyed her trips to the south and that she eventually decided to make the move. I started out as a northerner myself, but I believe that people should do what makes them truly happy (-:
Irish Runeshaper 4 months ago
Hi. I've lived in the small town I grew up in. Never left... never wanted to. So I've lived here for 73 years. I'm a northerner too ❤️
Rick 4 months ago
"But I worry whether you always have to be politic [sic] and polite."

Why is there a [sic] in this quote? I think she worried about always having to be politic in a small town: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/politic
Kego 4 months ago
Aunt Bee lived in “SILER CITY” N.C. not Silver City. As a born and bred Tarheel I have traveled NC extensively and through SILER City many times before 421 bypass was built.
Irish 4 months ago
Love the article. Loved the actress.
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